Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Church a "Compound in One"

The great prophet leader Lehi in the Book of Mormon taught his son Jacob a concept he referred  to as “a compound in one.” (2Nephi 2: 11) He was teaching Jacob about the great atoning sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God. Lehi explained that in the absence of opposites, all things tend to amalgamate into one bland mass of nothingness, a "compound in one." Even the great atonement would not have been needed or have had purpose in the absence of opposites. Lehi explained, “Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.” (2Nephi 2:  10-11) In the absence of opposites, all things tend toward a “compound in one.” Lehi then launched into a marvelous discourse to teach his sons the great principle of agency and acting for ones self, as opposed to being acted upon.

In his discourse, Lehi taught that God created some things to “act,“ and other things to be “acted upon.” (2Nephi 2: 14) Man, was the foremost thing created by God to “act” for himself.  Lehi said, “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.” Further, Lehi said,  “the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.” (2Nephi 2:  16 and 26)

We learn from the precious Book of Mormon through Lehi’s words, how tragically wrong it is when Gods children are deprived of their God given right to learn truth, as well as their right and need to learn and study unimpinged, any elements that my be in opposition to truth as well. Hiding anything from Gods children, depriving them of information needed to make personal assessments of true principles, is evil and will result in conditions God deemed unacceptable for His children. Anyone who thinks or believes he is doing God’s children a favor by not allowing them to be exposed to doctrine, history, or information, is buying into, and playing a part in the policies that were rejected by God our Father for His children from the beginning. No man has been given the right to “control,” exercise “compulsion,” or otherwise practice “unrighteous dominion,” upon the souls of men. (D&C 121: 36-39) When anyone, including church leaders, exercises any of these elements of  anti-agency to any degree, they set themselves up as supporters of principles the Lord has already rejected.

Included in Lehi’s discourse is a description of Satan who became a devil because he “sought that which was evil before God.” (2Nephi 2: 17) That which is evil before God has every thing to do with the right and ability of man to exercise agency and to be free to choose. The Lord revealed to Moses, “Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;” (Moses 4:3) That being who once stood in the presence of God, was finally cast down by the power of the Only Begotten largely because of ambitions he had to “destroy the agency of man.” It seems Satan, as a part of his evil ambitions, desired key elements of that condition Lehi called a “compound in one.” Satan desired to eliminate opposites and the ability that comes through the existence of opposites for God’s children to choose between good and evil. The resulting “compound in one” would have resulted in Gods children being “created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation.  Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and His eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.” (2Nephi 2: 12)            

The practice of any man, regardless of position or title, who places himself above others, assuming a right to determine what others are and are not ready for, or in need of, is evil.  Equally as evil is the idea that leaders have a right to censure anyone because of their beliefs or what they choose to study and speak. Joseph Smith set the policy out clearly, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” Joseph set this policy forth to include “all men,” I suppose he had in mind members of the church when he stated this. To a large degree this article of faith does not apply to members of the church in our day. If you choose to worship "how, where, and what you may," and it is deemed by leaders to be unacceptable, you may be exercised upon and compelled to leave the church. It makes members of the church mad , distrusting of leaders, and to feel belittled, when any man assumes to rule over them and control their lives to the point of deciding what truth or opposition to truth should and should not be given and explored by them. There was a day in the church when true leaders taught true principles then simply allowed the people to govern themselves unmolested, as if they were competent to act as Gods free children.  To use a term Joseph Smith himself used, they were not "trammeled" in their search for truth and Gods presence. 

We all know there are elements of doctrine, rites, and practices that are of a sacred nature. Those should not be tossed about freely. Those sacred items of doctrine are not at issue here.   

Since the death of Joseph Smith, oppressive tactics of  church leaders to control what is and what is not taught and discussed, tactics by which members expectations are assumed to be managed by leaders,  have led to an institution that is a type of “compound in one.” Leaders have sought to sterilize the exposure of members from anything they perceive may be in opposition to what they would like the people to believe. On the other side of things, leaders dumb down the doctrine to those items they believe pose no threat to the institution.

These are things of a very serious nature, though they are now institutionalized and practiced every day as business as usual. Tampering with the exposure of Gods children to opposites, leads to destructive results Lehi called a “compound in one.” Ultimately, such practices by men result in destruction of “the wisdom of God and His eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.” (2Nephi 2: 12) I believe the consequences for men who choose to participate in such practices, resulting in the destruction of any of these eternal principles as they apply to even the least of God’s children, will be unpleasant to an extreme degree. We know of at least one who was cast down for even wanting to practice such things.                

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